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PHILHARMONIA: RUSSIAN MASTERWORKS

Season 2021/22

Stanislav Kochanovsky conductor
Gil Shaham violin

BORODIN ‘Polovtsian Dances’ from Prince Igor
PROKOFIEV Violin Concerto No. 2
MUSSORGSKY Pictures at an Exhibition

Join the Philharmonia for a spring evening celebrating Russia’s timeless classical music tradition in a programme welcoming violinist Gil Shaham to the De Montfort Hall stage. 

The American violinist returns to Leicester for the first time in 12 years with one of the most popular concertos in the repertoire. Prokofiev’s Second Violin Concerto evokes its Russian heritage from the start, with a folk-inspired melody that weaves through the entire piece, capturing the full emotional range of the instrument along the way. From that graceful tune to spellbinding virtuosity, the music finally makes its way to Spain, where the original Russian melody finds itself joined by sprightly castanets for a fiery finale.

Framing the programme, two works filled to the brim with instantly recognisable tunes used across the world in everything from adverts to film soundtracks. Borodin’s Polovtsian Dances form the stunning finale to Act Two of his unfinished opera Prince Igor, bringing to life a roaring celebration of the villainous Khan Konchak. Equally vivid, Mussorgsky’s Pictures at an Exhibition images the listener stepping into the worlds of a series of paintings in a gallery. Led by the stately Promenade theme as we wander past the canvases, each movement evokes a new tableau, from grand castles to adorable baby chicks dancing inside their eggs.

Our evening comes to a close as we head from a journey deep into gloomy catacombs to a devilish witch’s hut on chicken legs, before finally bursting into radiant golden sunshine as we hear the majestic final theme of the Great Gate of Kiev – this concert will leave you humming melodies for days.

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